Harvey Rupert Elder (Mole Man)

Harvey ElderAnother set of promotional pics from the upcoming The Fantastic Four has been published on Empire, and we got a glimpse of another character from the movie: in one of the pictures, Reed Richards is staring at something with some soldiers at his back and with someone who looks like a security guard. The latter is Harvey Elder, who’ll be portrayed by Tim Blake Nelson. So far, we know nothing of Elder’s role in the movie, not even if he’ll become the villainous Mole Man as in the comics (but that’s unlikely). Despite this is the first actual live action appearance of Elder, Ian Trigger‘s character in the unreleased The Fantastic Four movie, The Jeweler, is obviously based on him. In the movie, The Jeweler is a deformed thief who lives in the sewers with a band of outcasts (and he’s the one who unwillingly triggers the Fantastic Four‘s transformation by stealing the diamond they were using as a catalyst), thus keeping the freakish and underground theme from the original character. In the comics, however, his gang is on an entire league entirely…

Harvey Elder was born at the beginning of the century (circa 1910), and since his childhood he got taunted by his peers because of his appearance: very short in stature, with a large nose, pretty overweight and extremely nearsighted, kid Harvey was the favorite target of all his schoolmates. Growing up, things didn’t go any better, and Harvey developed an abrasive personality to defend himself from the world; what he lacked in appearance, Elder compensated with brains, and as a student he demonstrated quite a scientific genius, that led him to become a nuclear engineer. He fell molemancomics1in love with one of his colleagues, Lorna, but the most he got from her was pity (when she didn’t mock him along with all the others). One of the main reasons for Elder being constantly mocked despite his intellect and talent was his absurd theory of a hollow Earth, a crackpot “scientific” claim that made him the laughing stock of everyone. Finally one day, sick and tired of everybody, Elder decided he would have shown the world the rightness of his ideas, and quit his job to become an explorer. Wanting to prove his theory, Harvey tried to join Stanley Hathaway‘s New York City Explorer’s Club, but was rejected; scorned, Elder spied on them, and eavesdropping a conversation he learnt that the Club was actually the front activity of the group known as the Monster Hunters. When a monster called Gorgilla attacked New York, the Hunters intervened, and Elder followed them. When the group defeated the monster, the wannabe explorer sneaked on their plane and arrived with them on Monsters Island, the place governed by the warlord Kro all the monsters came from. Tired of the man’s continuous interference, one of the adventurers, the mage Doctor Druid, parachuted him out of the plane, and after the Hunters defeated Kro, they just forgot about him. Blind without his glasses, lost on Monsters Island, Harvey Elder ended up falling into a pit, connecting to a subterranean cave: this proved to be the greatest luck in his entire life.

The first thing Elder saw (barely) in the cave was a neverending expanse of diamonds, that he called Valley of Diamonds. Further studies confirmed to him that he had found the access to the Hollow Earth he was looking for: not actually the inhabitable center of the planet, but a planet-wide network of caverns. He named his (self-taken) kingdom Subterranea, and even discovered a native species of subterranean creatures; he easily became the leader molemancomics2of the weakest race, a humanoid species of yellow-skinned dwarfs he called the Moloids, who taught him much of the subterranean world. He developed a natural radar sense that allowed him to move in the utter dark of the world below the surface, and found many highly advanced technological devices built and abandoned by the Deviants (a race of mutated humans, the same that had genetically engineered the creatures from Monsters Island). Harvey even found some wounded Deviants, and cured them with his medical skills: one of the Deviants was the female that became his bride, Kyzerra. Despite being in love with her, Harvey had to abandon her when she got pregnant, according to the Deviants’ custom; he seldom met his son, who he peacefully shared the rule of Subterranea with. Decades passed, but Subterranea’s unique environment and radiations kept Elder as young as when he fell into the pit for the first time; not even time, however, could appease Elder’s hatred towards the people from the surface, and he used his newfound authority to learn to control the giant monsters from the underground to get his revenge on “normal people”. Using one of the monikers the bullies named him with, Elder christened himself the Mole Man, and organised his armies to attack the surface. He planned on destroying Earth’s power plants, so that he could prey on the defenseless countries and become the ruler of the world, but his army of monsters was stopped by the newborn Fantastic Four, out on their first adventure after they got their superpowers. The Mole Man came back in Subterranea, but not in retreat: he just wanted to plan his revenge, on the entire world as always, but in particular against the Fantastic Four…

Harvey Elder is a bitter and rancorous little man, a deformed dwarf who’s been mocked his entire life and who reacted becoming exactly what the bullies told him he was: a monster. Brilliant and skillful, Elder possesses wide knowledge in many scientific fields, including nuclear engineering, physics, medicine, and even alien technology. As the Mole Man, he possesses a special radar sense (similar to Daredevil‘s one) that allows him to “see” in total darkness, and he has mastered a particular stick-based martial art that makes advantage of his short stature and heavy physique; he controls a wide army of subterranean creatures, including Moloids and giant monsters, and has access to an arsenal of Deviants’ weaponry and machines. Once the least appreciated of men, now the undisputed ruler (and fierce protector) of an entire world, the Mole Man will be remembered as a conqueror and a king, rather than as a miserable freak.


Michael Christian Amar (Murmur)

MurmurIn the last episode of Arrow we didn’t meet any new character, but someone popped out in the promo for the next one. In the trailer for The Offer, at a certain point you can spot a creepy guy with his mouth sewn and shut, the same guy that in the next scene is seen shooting with a heavy machine gun from a truck. That’s the next episode’s villain, Michael Amar, portrayed by Adrian Glynn McMorran. Amar is better known in the underworld as Murmur (and, looking at his mouth, you can guess why), and will be the next threat Team Arrow will face upon coming back to Starling City after their adventure in Nanda Parbat. Nothing else is known about Murmur, apart that he’ll be trying to fill Brick‘s shoes now that he’s gone. Let’s see together who he is in the comics, in the meanwhile.

Everything was perfect in Michael Christian Amar‘s life: he was a renowned doctor, a well-famed surgeon from Central City; he had a considerable wealth and a remarkable social status, he was respected by friends and colleagues. Then, they came. Suddenly, on an apparently normal day, Michael started being haunting by voices that followed him everywhere, and that urged him to do horrible things. The voices stopped for a single, wonderful moment when Amar, led by desperation, killed his first victim: satisfying murmurcomics1the voices made them disappear… only for a little while, though. Eager to get rid of his “inner hosts”, Amar started a brutal killing spree, abandoning work and social life and going into hiding, preying on his victims like a wild animal. In order not to be caught, he kept moving while killing, and from Central City he ended up in Keystone City. Despite having gone completely mad, Amar retained his intellect and knowledge from when he was a renowned surgeon, and this made him all the more lethal with knives and scalpels, and extremely hard to track down, since he knew how to hide his tracks. Detectives Fred Chyre and Joe Jackman started a real manhunt to stop the serial killer, but to no avail; only when forensic scientist Barry Allen joined them they were able to collect evidence enough to track down the killer and to arrest him. During the trial, another characteristic of Amar’s psychosis emerged: he was simply unable not to boast about the murders he committed, and he compulsively blurted out all the details of his crimes in front of judge, jury and lawyers. With no second thought, Michael Amar was sentenced to the death penalty, and his case closed… maybe a little bit too early.

While in the death row, Amar was diagnosed with a curious blood disease, an abnormality that made him impervious to lethal injection. Since the State was unable to kill him, Amar was sentenced to life imprisonment in Iron Heights prison. While in here, his mental sickness got even worse: since he didn’t want to incriminate himself anymore through his uncontrollable blurting, Amar cut his own tongue out, and then sewed his lips up, making himself totally unable to speak. He then created a brand new identity for himself: Murmur, the silent killer, and even tailored a costume and a thin mask for this new persona. In prison, he met Amunet Black, a supervillainess known as murmurcomics2Blacksmith: with her help, Murmur used the prison lab’s material to create a virus that led guards and prisoners to kill each other. The virus led Iron Heights into a chaos, that soon evolved in a riot: during the uproar, Murmur took his chance, and managed to escape along with Blacksmith and her new Rogues. Murmur himself became part of the team, and along with Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, Magenta, Girder, Plunder and Trickster, he participated to Blacksmith’s plan to take down The Flash once and for all. His task was to isolate Keystone City from the rest of the world, working together with Mirror Master to reprogram the radio stations’ antenna with Master’s powers. Unfortunately, the plan was thwarted by some unexpected guests (Thinker, Goldface and Captain Cold among the others), and the Rogues were defeated: Murmur managed to avoid a second arrest, and fled. Since he didn’t have any particular reason to target The Flash as a nemesis, he kept following his inner voices, and soon arrived in a city where his madness was just the population average: Gotham City. Finally, the doctor had an entire city to practice on, one in which his crimes could go unnoticed for days, since he was just one among tens of psychopaths hunting the honest and law-abiding citizens.

Michael Amar is, simply put, an utterly mad man, a deranged killer who murders his victims in the continuous and desperate effort to make the “voices in his head” stop whispering things to him. Despite his sickness, he’s still a brilliant man, with quite some knowledge on human anatomy and even chemistry; both skills, in his hand, become tools for death. As Murmur, he’s extremely skilled in the use of knives and blades in general, and he possesses scientific skills enough to synthesize viruses (his greatest creation is the frenzy virus, that modifies its victim’s brain chemistry and makes even the most peaceful individual fall under a berserker rage); his blood chemistry is quite unusual, and makes him immune to most poisons and toxins. Murmur is not exactly “evil”, he’s just a sick man who’s trying to cure himself: unfortunately, his “cure” involves chopping people up.

Eric Raleigh

EricAnother week, another episode of The Walking Dead… and another new character to speak about. In The Distance, it’s revealed that Aaron didn’t come alone to meet Rick Grimes‘ group, but there’s somebody backing him up from a distance: it’s Eric Raleigh, his boyfriend, portrayed by Jordan Woods-Robinson. During the episode, Eric is injured, but he’s saved by Rick and the others and left in the RV to recover, while the others continue their journey to Alexandria Safe-Zone. It’s pretty positive we’ll see him again soon, so, in the meanwhile, let’s take a look at the original Eric.

Very little is known about Eric’s life prior to the Outbreak. He lived in the Alexandria outskirts, but his job remains unrevealed. He was openly gay, and he lived with his boyfriend, Aaron: it was with him that he started traveling around, trying to survive day by day, when the dead started to rise and to feed upon the flesh of the living. When everything seemed to be lost, Eric and Aaron found a little haven (and heaven) in the Alexandria Safe-Zone, a shelter built by Alexander Davidson and Douglas Munroe. In the time they spent there, Eric and Aaron saw the leadership change, as Alexander, who had become some sort of abusive tyrant, was sent away by Douglas, who became the new leader of the community and did his best to transform it into a peaceful and efficient town, a corner cut out of the world before the apocalypse. Both Eric and Aaron became two of the most trusted cooperators and councelors to Douglas, and when he decided it was time to open the Safe-Zone’s ericcomics1gates to other groups of survivor, to make the community grow and to give the others a chance of survival, Eric and Aaron were appointed as the town’s recruiters. Their task was potentially dangerous: they had to spot other groups of survivors, to observe them from a distance for a while and to decide whether they could be potential candidates for the Safe-Zone, and then act. If the survivors weren’t violent or dangerous people, Aaron would have approached them and invited them to the Safe-Zone, while Eric observed from a distance, ready to intervene if something went bad. If the survivors accepted, both Aaron and Eric would have taken them to the Safe-Zone, where they would have been received the final approval from Douglas himself. Usually, the groups spotted by the two of them were little ones, usually of three-four people at most, but they eventually stumbled upon Rick Grimes’ group, a much bigger and well-organised one.

Eric and Aaron proceeded as usual, and observed them for some days; when they decided that the big group could have been quite an asset for the Safe-Zone, Aaron went on and approached them, while Eric stayed behind, and kept spying on the group backing his boyfriend up. A well trained group like Rick’s one didn’t take much time to spot Eric in the nearby woods, and immediately thought of some trap, but Aaron kind of reassured them, telling them Eric was his “insurance policy”, ready to kill them if they turned out to be bad people, but absolutely harmless if they didn’t hurt him. Eric joined the group openly when they started traveling to Atlanta Safe-Zone, and started liking Rick’s group as well, trying to become friends with them, even if in his usual, silent way. ericcomics2When Rick and the others were “delivered” to and approved by Douglas, Eric and Aaron came back to their mission, this time with a couple of horses given to them by Maggie Greene, the only animals remaining from her father’s farm. This time, however, things didn’t go as smoothly as the last one: the two lovers spotted a lone woman in the woods, and Aaron managed to recruit her with no difficulty; Eric joined them, and they prepared to come back to the Safe-Zone. During the night, however, Eric woke up and found the woman trying to steal their horses and sneak off. He tried to talk her out of it, but she stabbed him without a second thought, and ran away with Buttons, Maggie’s favorite horse. Aaron woke up and found his boyfriend in a blood puddle in the ground: with the remaining horse, he rushed to the Safe-Zone, where Eric was entrusted to one of the doctors, Denis Cloyd. Denise managed to save Eric’s life and to stitch his wound, but Aaron felt awfully guilty because of what had happened to Eric, believing it was his misjudgment that led to the incident. Eric tried to reassure his boyfriend, but from that moment Aaron decided that recruiting had become far too dangerous, and that the community was big enough already: Eric supported his position as always, and the two convinced Douglas to give up with recruitment and to take care of the already-existing community. It was a new chapter in Eric’s life, but as all the previous ones, he would have lived it with Aaron by his side.

Eric is a friendly and cheerful guy, loyal to his community and ferociously protective over his boyfriend, Aaron. Usually quiet and apparently gloomy, Eric is actually a pretty open and positive man, who sincerely wishes to be liked. Unusually for the Alexandria Safe-Zone’s residents, Eric is also used to shooting and killing, both walkers and living humans, always for the sake of Aaron. Even for this, he’s one of the pillars of the Safe-Zone, and the only center of Aaron’s life.

Matthew Shrieve

Matthew ShrieveAlso Arrow this week introduced a brand new character, and one who’s likely to become one of the recurring guest stars in the show. At the end of The Return, while Oliver Queen hopes to be allowed to stay in Starling City after having successfully captured China White, he’s soon disappointed by the usual Amanda Waller, and by a new figure coming in: General Shrieve, portrayed by Marc Singer. Shrieve offers Queen to come back with him to China with the promise of letting him free immediately after, an offer Oliver cannot refuse (literally). As you may have guessed by now, Shrieve is actually from the comics, even if he’s been promoted on tv from a simple lieutenant to a general. He has nothing to do with Waller or Queen, however, but he deals with a bunch of weirder guys. Let’s see together.

Born and raised in the state of New YorkMatthew Shrieve joined World War II as a young man for his own personal, peculiar reasons: while most of his peers were idealists who wanted to fight for freedom and justice, to protect their own country or even Europe, Shrieve joined the army out of pure hatred towards the Nazis and the Germans in general, people he didn’t even see as humans anymore, but monsters to say the least. During the war, he conquered the rank of lieutenant through many heroic deeds, that he actually performed following thirst for destruction rather than desire to save lives. Thanks to his battle prowess, however, he was contacted by a scientist, matthewshrievecomics1Professor Mazursky, to join the top secret Project M, an experiment dealing with biotechnology aimed to create special commandos able to embody the archetypes of fear itself, thus battling with terror the Nazi forces. Shrieve accepted the task to lead the commandos, and found himself dealing with real monsters: Warren Griffith, a delusional boy engineered to become an actual werewolf; Sgt. Vincent Velcro, an insubordinate turned into a real-life vampire; and Pvt. Elliot “Lucky” Taylor, a soldier who stepped on a landmine and was patched together to resemble some sort of Frankenstein’s Monster. Cold-blooded and brave in his own right, Lt. Shrieve didn’t fear his own subordinates, and led them with an iron fist. On their first assignment, the team known as the Creature Commandos went to France in order to destroy some Nazi droids resembling Stalin, Churchil, Roosvelt and other important politicians from the world. Next, they were assigned to free a French scientist, Renee Frederique, from Nazis’ hands, but when it became clear she possessed knowledge on experimental lethal gasses, and that the risk she fell again in the Germans’ hands was too great, Shrieve ordered Lucky Taylor, who had befriended her, to kill her in cold blood. After that, Lucky committed suicide, but Shrieve had him patched back together and ready for the field.

Back to the United States, Shrieve led the team to a controversial mission on American territory: he had found out that the town of Freedom was inhabited by several Nazi sympathizers, and he had obtained from his superiors to handle things his own way. Seeing the Freedom citizens as sub-humans who didn’t deserve much of a second chance for being an internal threat to their country, Shrieve had his “monsters” terrorize the town for weeks, leading most of the people (innocents included) on the verge of madness. Shrieve considered himself satisfied, and moved the Commandos back to the base (Ferris Island), but the relationship between him and his subordinates deteriorated matthewshrievescomics2even more. As another assignment, the Creature Commandos were sent directly to Germany, where they had to spy on a boarding school brainwashing children and transforming them into super-soldiers with experimental steroids. Shrieve disguised himself as Nazi Colonel Emil Kruger, and pretending he was inspecting the school, he confirmed what the intelligence services had discovered. Shrieve decided the children were too dangerous to allow them to grow up and fight for the regime, but the Commandos refused to harm them: in response, Shrieve opened fire on the children himself. Eventually, all the children in the school died because of the exposure to the not-so-safe steroid, but Shrieve had given quite a contribution to their demise, much to his team’s horror. Crossing France to come back to the base, the Creature Commandos saved some blind French children from the Nazis on the way, and even earned a Medal of Honor each, but for the “monsters” this was hardly a redemption. Seeing that every decision he made was questioned by his own team, Shrieve left, much to the creatures’ satisfaction. Shrieve, however, was given a desk job (not exactly up to his need for blood), and nobody else wanted to lead the Creature Commandos in his place: eventually, he was called back, always ready to take the field, even commanding a bunch of soldiers who despised and feared him.

Lt. Matthew Shrieve is a cold-hearted and cruel man, who sublimates his need for destruction and violence in the more acceptable form of being a war hero, always ready to be on the first line. Extremely well trained, a master in armed and unarmed combat, a skillful tactician and a capable leader, he accomplishes any mission with complete disregard of human life, to the point he remorselessly kills women and children alike. Ironically enough, he leads a team composed of real-life monsters (a werewolf, a vampire, a Frankenstein’s Monster lookalike, a gorgon and a robot), but at the end of the day, he’s the only true monster among them.

Johann Fennhoff (Doctor Faustus)

Johann FennhoffThe biggest reveal from this week’s episode of Agent Carter comes at the very beginning, with a flashback set in Russia during the war. In the first scene of SNAFU, we see Dr. Ivchenko (introduced in The Iron Ceiling and portrayed by Ralph Brown) reading a very peculiar book, a hint itself, The Tragic Life of Dr. Faustus. He is then called by a surgeon to perform “his art” on a soldier (a guy name Ovechkin, whose name is rearranged to create the alias “Ivchenko”), and is called with his real name: Fennhoff. Now, all pieces come in place: the comicbook readers surely had already recognized him from his work on poor Agent Yauch, but all the others may still not know who Ivchenko really is. Bad news for Peggy Carter: when she brought back to the United States the “Russian” psychiatrist, she let in one of the most vicious and dangerous supercriminals ever faced in war times (and after). Let’s see together.

Johann Fennhoff was born in ViennaAustria, only son of a woman named Anna and of an unnamed soldier, who died during the war. In order to allow his beloved son to study, Anna worked day and night, and eventually moved to Britain; in London, Fennhoff studied psychiatry and became one of the most skilled doctors in that field, showing incredible abilities when it came to psychological manipulation and influence. With talent also came arrogance, and soon Fennhoff declared himself the Master of Men’s Minds, and started using his unmatched doctorfaustuscomics1skills for personal gain: he manipulated his enemies and rivals to the point they eventually killed themselves, allowing him to obtain fame and power rising in social and professional position. This, however, was not enough for the ambitious Fennhoff, who following Christopher Marlowe‘s play had started to call himself Doctor Faustus, like the man seeking absolute knowledge: he became a criminal mastermind, and gathered quite a number of followers who worshiped him as he was some sort of hero or god. In order to put to the test his abilities and to show the world what he was capable of, Faustus moved to New York City and opened a practice there; he then manipulated people and events so that he became Steve Roger‘s new psychiatrist, having the chance of influencing Captain America. Using both hypnosis, drugs secretly delivered to Rogers and elaborate plays performed by his minions in costumes, Faustus convinced Captain America that he was a sick man, continuously hallucinating about war times. Cap was brought to the brink of utter madness by Faustus’ machinations, but eventually he managed to see through the psychiatrist’s illusions, and broke free of his conditioning. When Doctor Faustus and Captain America confronted each other on a more physical ground, the doctor was knocked out with a single punch from the super soldier and arrested.

If at first Doctor Faustus had targeted Captain America out of pure arrogance and ambition, now it was revenge: he couldn’t accept defeat at the hands of such an “inferior mind”. From that moment, destroying Captain America became a priority, and Faustus tried to annihilate his enemy by hypnotizing an amnesiac Peggy Carter and kidnapping her niece Sharon Carter, targeting both Cap’s flames, the old one and the new one. Eventually,
however, he was defeated once again, but escaped capture. He allied himself with another master manipulator, Dr. Karla Sofen (the supervillain Moonstone), and stole powerful weapons from Stark International: the weapons doctorfaustuscomics2were hand-held sonic depressors, able to shut down an individual’s mental faculties, thus making him extremely easily influenced. Faustus wanted to use the weapons to submit the entire Manhattan to his will, but Captain America intervened once again to stop the doctor, and reached him on the plane Fennhoff was aboard. During the following battle, one of Faustus’ minions accidentally broke a window, and Faustus was sucked out of the plane, apparently to his death. He, however, survived, and when he came back, he had realized his monomania with Captain America was a childish and self-destructive whim. He came back to his “usual” criminal career, always aiming to total control. While trying to inject a hallucinatory drug into the flu vaccine that would have been distributed in New York, thus making the entire population ready to become his personal source of slaves, Dr. Faustus was stopped by Spider-Man: once again, however, his psychological manipulation proved to be irresistible, and he managed to break Spider-Man’s will to his own, turning the hero into a minion. He forced Spider-Man to accomplish his plan himself, but he underestimated the hero’s scientific knowledge, and Spidey managed to come back to his senses and apprehend the doctor. Faustus, however, evaded capture once again, always more than capable of convincing judge and jury of his innocence: no jail would have ever held him.

Johann Fennhoff is, simply put, a genius, a charismatic man with an immense intellect only matched by his arrogance and ambition. Driven by his sense of superiority, Fennhoff believes that lesser minds (everyone but himself) should obey to superior ones, and puts his talents to the service of his personal dream of becoming some sort of king of the world. As Doctor Faustus, he possesses extremely effective manipulative abilities, and he’s able to modulate his voice in order to win any mental defense of his target and to break his will to his own; a master of hypnosis and mind control, Faust often uses other tools, such as pills, hallucinogenic gases and even elaborate plays with actors and droids, to augment the effectiveness of his manipulations. With no mind standing up to his own (the only exception being Mr. Fantastic, the first and last man who defeated him in a mind game), Faustus relies on his unlimited brain, especially after being crippled in a fight with Captain America and Daredevil: with him around, friends and allies will soon find one against the other, unable to tell right from wrong or truth from illusion, in a state of mind in which the only reality is Fennhoff’s voice.

Michael Corcoran

Agent CorcanThis week’s episode of Agent Carter introduced a brand new character, and revealed another one. Let’s start from the first and more obscure one: in SNAFU (an acronym that in the army means: “Situation Normal: All F@#*°d Up”), the S.S.R. finally starts to make some moves against Leviathan, unfortunately the organisation is three steps ahead already. When some agents are sent to intercept the Russian killer, one of them patrols the stairs, and has the misfortune of a direct confrontation with the blonde murderer: he’s Agent Corcoran, portrayed by Travis Johns. There’s an agent Corcoran in the comics, but he serves KGB instead of S.S.R.; he however has some relation with the Black Widow (the modern one, not this Dottie Underwood), but they are far more friendly with each other than in the show. Let’s see together.

Little is known about Michael Corcoran‘s early life: born and raised in the United States, he developed a keen and brilliant intellect, and fell in love with science. He grew up to become a remarkable scientist in his own right, and when the Cold War engulfed the world, he refused to take position, believing that science for science’s sake was the only value worthy of being pursued. When it became clear that the American authorities weren’t interested in michaelcorcorancomics1funding his researches, Corcoran looked for other sponsors, and when the Soviets on the contrary gained interest in his work, he defected to Russia without a second thought, always living according to his personal top priority. During his time in the Soviet Union, Corcoran grew to hate any kind of nationalism, but swallowed whatever the Russians told him for the sake of the important project he had been assigned, a top secret research known only to a few high officers in the KGB. Corcoran worked toe to toe with the Russian intelligence service, and soon became part of a plan devised by one of their top agents, Damon Dran, who wanted to take revenge on his nemesis, the former Soviet agent now American heroine Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow. Dran kidnapped the Widow’s friend, defector scientist Ivan Petrovich, and arranged things so that it looked like Petrovich had defected once again to come back to the Soviet Union, and was now working with Corcoran. Following the trail, the Widow arrived on Russian territory.

Michael Corcoran was told by the KGB that an American spy would have infiltrated his labs, aiming to destroy his project: loving his science above anything else, Corcoran agreed to cooperate with Dran and the others in order to allow them to capture the spy before she could destroy his life’s work. When another American defector, Laura Matthers, was assigned to Corcoran’s lab, he knew that the woman was in fact the Black Widow. Corcoran and michaelcorcorancomics2Laura spent time together, and while the woman had the task of seducing him to learn information about the project and about Petrovich’s location, Corcoran had to pretend to fall in love with her to make her believe she could manipulate him, and reveal random (false) pieces of information about what she wanted to know. Unfortunately, Michael ended up truly falling in love with Natasha/Laura, but endured in his mission for the sake of his research. Finally, the KGB officers arranged a “secret” meeting with Corcoran, during which they discussed in details Ivan Petrovich’s situation, perfectly knowing that the Black Widow was listening, unseen. That night, the Widow abandoned Corcoran’s bed and entered the room in which Petrovich was supposed to be held, only to discover she had been tricked all that time. Upon assisting to the Black Widow’s arrest, Michael Corcoran understood that he had been tricked by the Soviets in turn, and that the woman was no threat to his work at all: he tried to defend her, but he was stabbed in the back by a KGB agent, since his research had reached a point in which his services were no longer needed. Just before dying, Corcoran confessed in a whisper to Natasha/Laura that he had really loved her.

Michael Corcoran is a brilliant scientist, but somewhat of a naive man, who loathes politics and its methods but fails to consider the consequences it has on his own life as well. All he cares about in life is science, which he has consecrated his existence to, but things changed the moment he met Laura Matthers (actually Natasha Romanoff), the only person he loves at least as much as he loves his work.

Harley Cohen (Triphammer)

TriphammerAfter some time, we finally got some new pic from the upcoming Powers, and another one of the main characters has been revealed. This time it’s the turn of Triphammer, who’ll be portrayed by Andrew Sensenig… and the photo is quite surprising. In the comics, Triphammer is Powers‘ version of Iron Man, a genius scientist with a hyper-technological armor, while in the show… well, he’s different. You can see by yourself, he looks nothing like his counterpart (the show’s budget wouldn’t have allowed a flying red armor, probably, but this one looks like a weird cosplayer). Anyway, it’s still a little bit too early to tell if this version is a good one or not, the story will tell. In the meanwhile, let’s see who the original Triphammer is in the comics.

Little is known about Harley Cohen‘s early life: a rich man and a brilliant scientist, he decided to put both his remarkable intellect and his substantial fortune to become an inventor, creating technologies decades ahead of his time. When the world began to witness the birth of the first superheroes, Cohen had the idea of using his new tech to compensate his lack of superpowers and to join masked heroes such as Diamond in their everyday battle against evil (being a billionaire, he had a lot of spare time to do so). Cohen built a battle armor, and donned it to become the superhero Triphammer. During his triphammercomics1adventures as a modern knight in a shining armor, Triphammer met Diamond himself, and became more than an ally to him: the two became friends, and Cohen even revealed his own secret identity to him. He even met other heroes, and became one of the (many) casual lovers of Retro Girl. When even among the criminals some superpowered individuals appeared, the heroes decided to form an alliance, and founded a group composed of Diamond, Zora, Retro Girl and Triphammer himself. Since he was now fighting supercriminals as well, Triphammer came up with a backup plan, and designed a machine able to temporarily remove an individual’s powers. This last invention of him proved to be the beginning of the end for his own group: during a massive battle between the heroes and an alliance of villains led by Johnny Royale, Diamond met his nemesis, the immortal Wolfe, and the two of them ended up being heavily exposed to the Power Drainer: both of them lost their powers, and while Wolfe was sentenced to life imprisonment, Diamond disappeared from sight.

Triphammer kept operating as a superhero during the years after the battle, and was among the few ones who knew that Diamond had now become a police detective known as Christopher Walker. Knowing that policemen would have had to deal with supervillains as well, Triphammer licensed his Power Drainer to the law enforcement triphammercomics2community, thus allowing them to apprehend even other Powers (the nickname of superhumans). After years of patrolling the streets, Triphammer was contacted by Walker once again when Retro Girl was found murdered: under her fingernails the forensic scientists had found some red paint, the same of Cohen’s armor. Interrogated by Walker directly, Triphammer admitted he had a sexual relationship with the dead superheroine, but that he was not her killer, and angrily left accusing his former partner to be wasting his time. Eventually, Walker caught the real killer, a deluded fanboy who wanted to be a part of his beloved heroine’s life, even if as his murderer: not wanting the maniac to go to trial and to be remembered for what he had done, considering it as a victory of the killer’s delusion, Triphammer attacked the police station, and executed Retro Girl’s killer in cold blood. After that, he retired from the scenes, and disappeared from the public’s eye. He even underwent plastic surgery, so that nobody could recognize him. He formed a family, and had three daughters. Despite having now a family of his own, he never forgot his “previous” one, and ten years later, when Zora got killed in action and Chris Walker tried to expose the federals for their responsibility in her death, Cohen showed up near Zora’s grave, and gave Walker quite a sum of money to allow him to pay for the lawsuit. They were and would always have been a team, after all.

Harley Cohen is a genius inventor and a heroic fighter for justice, but also a narcissist and an egomaniac, who simply loves being under the spotlights. His inventions are, to say the least, futuristic, and his fields of expertise go from engineering to biology, from physics to medical science, in an extensive knowledge of nearly any science. As Triphammer, he pilots an armor that grants him super strength, invulnerability and flight, and that contains a wide variety of secret weapons (included his dreaded Disintegration Ray). Faithful to his own idea of justice rather than to law itself, Triphammer is a loyal companion and a loving father, a hero who may be retired, but who’s not out of the game at all.